Brett Davis gets down to the serious business of lunch at P’ti in District 2’s Thao Dien

The business lunch is a wonderful thing, particularly depending on how long it is. It is a very civilized way to get deals done, form alliances, or simply bond with your colleagues. Some places are better suited to this time-honoured ritual than others. P’ti in Thao Dien is just such a place.

For starters, if a business suit was able to transform its self into a restaurant, it would look like P’ti, which is all charcoal tones and dark wood. It is effortlessly cool yet also serious, in a modern, Parisian sort of way. The venue’s lighting is on the dim side, as it should be, and all the better for conversations that need a certain discretion. Tables in both the indoor section and on the covered patio are sensibly spaced so you never feel like you are sharing your lunch with strangers.

If you are a fan of the French cuisine stalwart Le Corto then you will feel right at home here at P’ti as both are helmed by chef Sakal Phoeung who has been plying his trade in Asia for more than 20 years. As you would expect, the food is refined, well-thought-out and draws on both classic technique and local flavours.

So, while P’ti is great all the time, its set business lunch is something else. For starters, you have a menu that changes every day so there is always something new and exciting to look forward to. There is one starter, two mains to choose from and a single dessert, and each is as refined and perfectly executed as you would expect from chef Sakal.

Then there is the value. Somehow this is all on offer for VND 200,000++ for two courses or VND 250,000++ for three courses. Throw in a tight little wine list available by the glass, carafe or bottle and you have yourself the makings of the very best kind of business lunch.

On the day we visited we started with a Parma ham and lentil salad, presented as a perfect little cylinder, which was enlivened with chopped fresh tomato and pieces of zesty orange. The two mains on offer were an interesting counterpoint, a grilled octopus atop Japanese rice with a spicy sabayon, and the other a veal tenderloin in a truffle sauce with creamy mashed pumpkin and potato espuma. There was plenty of umami to both and had one naturally reaching for the red wine list.

It would be remiss not to make an approving mention of the service, which was as crisp, immaculate and professional as one will find in this city. It speaks to a restaurant that knows what its identity is and what it is doing.

The P’ti set lunch is available from 11 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday. Be sure to try the Saturday buffet and Sunday brunch also. There is also an excellent bar on the terrace with a fine cocktail list and more upcoming evening events such as a regular salsa night. [C]

52 Ngo Quang Huy, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Phone: 028 3620 1880.

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